The Arizona 3-Minute Grad Slam (AZ3MGS) Competition is a contest where graduate students explain their research or creative work to an intelligent, non-specialist audience in three minutes. The top presenters from each of Arizona's public universities compete in this annual event. The event will increase the awareness surrounding the research and scholarly work of the state’s graduate students. As a statewide competition for the best three minute talk about graduate student research and discovery, presenters will be evaluated on their ability to convey in a compelling fashion the value of their research or creative work to an intelligent, non-specialist audience within three minutes. The top presenter may win an award up to $3,000.

Up to twelve presenters from the University of Arizona (UA), Northern Arizona University (NAU), and Arizona State University (ASU) will compete for the grand prize. The presenters are selected through local presentation competitions and events, such as the
the ASU School of Earth and Space Exploration Great Pitching Competition, UA Grad Slam, and the NAU 3-Minute Research Presentation Competition. Results from previous competitions are listed on our Competition Results page.


Judges 2017 (in alphabetical order by last name)

Wardah Jamil
Lead Organizer

Stacey Milgram
Regional Director
The Princeton Review

Elizabeth Swink
Distinguished Member
ARCS Foundation, Inc., Phoenix Chapter

Brenda Thomson
Executive Director
Arizona Humanities

Presenters 2017 (in alphabetical order by last name)

Lourena Arone

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Plant Pathology
  • School of Plant Sciences
  • University of Arizona
  • Advisor: Peter J. Cotty, Ph.D.
  • Presentation Title: Impacts of Farming Practices on Fate of Aflatoxin in the Environment
Jenna Fejervary
  • Master of Science in Applied Criminology
  • Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • Northern Arizona University
  • Advisor: Christine Arazan, Ph.D.
  • Presentation Title: Words Matter: Understanding Rape Myth
Tim Frost
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Engineering
  • Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs
  • University of Arizona
  • Advisor: Yitshak Zohar, Ph.D.
  • Presentation Title: Accelerating Drug Development with Microfluidic Models
Alexanndra Heyert
  • Master of Science in Chemistry
  • Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Northern Arizona University
  • Advisor: Gerrick Lindberg, Ph.D.
  • Presentation Title: Computational Insights into the Molecular World of an Antimicrobial Agent

Lora Key

  • Doctor of Philosophy in History
  • Department of History
  • University of Arizona
  • Advisors: Katherine Morrissey, Ph.D., and Tyina Steptoe, Ph.D
  • Presentation Title: Mexican Americans in the World War II Era

Mohammad Khayatian

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Engineering
  • School of Computing, Informatics, & Decision Systems Engineering
  • Arizona State University
  • Advisor: Aviral Shirvastava, Ph.D.
  • Presentation Title: Simultaneous Image Capturing for 3D Image Reconstruction
Jackie Monkiewicz
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Astrophysics, Arizona State University
  • School of Earth and Space Exploration
  • Arizona State University
  • Advisor: Judd Bowman, Ph.D.
  • Presentation Title: Touching the Stars: Creating a Planetarium Show for the Visually Impaired

Alexis Okurily

  • Doctor of Physical Therapy
  • Department of Physical Therapy & Athletic Training
  • Northern Arizona University
  • Advisors: Tarang Jain, PT, Ph.D., DPT and Valerie Carter, PT, DPT, NCS
  • Presentation Title: Changing How Care is Delivered: Exercise is Medicine in Parkinson’s Disease

Sofia Sweeney

  • Master of Arts in Teaching, Spanish
  • Department of Global Languages and Cultures
  • Northern Arizona University
  • Advisor: Yuly Asencion-Delaney, Ph.D.
  • Presentation Title: Instagram as a Second Language Vocabulary Learning Tool

Samantha Reznik

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology, Clinical Psychology Concentration
  • Department of Psychology
  • University of Arizona
  • Advisor: John B. Allen, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Psychology
  • Presentation Title: Developing a new intervention for treatment-resistant depression 


Judges 2016 (in alphabetical order)

Wardah Jamil
Lead Organizer

Mary O’Reilly, Ph.D.
Director, Industry Partnerships and AZ STEM Network
Science Foundation Arizona

Liz Swink
University Relations Vice-President
ARCS Foundation, Inc., Phoenix Chapter

Brenda Thomson
Executive Director
Arizona Humanities

Brent Watson
Tutoring and Collegiate Relations Manager, Arizona and New Mexico
The Princeton Review

Presenters 2016 (in presentation order)

Shayan Khoshmagham

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Systems and Industrial Engineering, Department of Systems and Industrial Engineering, University of Arizona
  • Advisor: Larry Head, Ph.D.
  • Presentation Title: Connected Vehicles - The Future of Transportation

Matthew Muchna

  • Master of Arts in Applied Sociology, Department of Sociology and Social Work, Northern Arizona University
  • Advisor: Kooros Mahmoudi, Ph.D.
  • Presentation Title: Segregation, Gentrification, and the Return of the Rio

Samantha Cotsmire

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Biological Design, School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, Arizona State University
  • Advisor: Bertram Jacobs, Ph.D.
  • Presentation Title: Targeted Manipulation of Poxviruses to Generate Better Vaccine Vectors

Andisheh Ranjbari

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, University of Arizona
  • Advisors: Yi-Chang Chiu, Ph.D., and Mark Hickman, Ph.D.
  • Presentation Title: Flexpress: A New Intercity Public Transit Service

Sri Krishna

  • Doctor of Philosophy Biological Design, School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, Arizona State University
  • Advisor: Karen S. Anderson, Ph.D.
  • Presentation Title: T-Cell Antigen Discovery Strategies for Viral and Cancer Immune Therapies

Uzma Tahir (1st Place 2016)

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Biology, Department of Biological Sciences, Northern Arizona University
  • Advisor: Kiisa Nishikawa, Ph.D.
  • Presentation Title: Emulating Biological Movement Using a Robotic Prosthesis

Paloma Gutierrez Castillo (People's Choice Award 2016)

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Mathematics, Department of Mathematics, Arizona State University
  • Advisor: Juan Lopez, Ph.D.
  • Presentation Title: Inertial Waves in Rotating Fluids

W. Kirk Schleiffarth

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Earth Science and Environmental Sustainability, School of Earth Science and Environmental Sustainability, Northern Arizona University
  • Advisor: Mary Reid, Ph.D.
  • Presentation Title: Mysterious Volcanoes in Turkey: Will they erupt again?

Alex Chibly (2nd Place 2016)

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Cancer Biology, Graduate Interdisciplinary Program in Cancer Biology, University of Arizona
  • Advisor: Kirsten Limesand, Ph.D.
  • Presentation Title: Saving lives one salivary gland at a time

Scott Daniel

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Molecular and Cellular Biology, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Arizona
  • Advisor: Bonnie Hurwitz, Ph.D.
  • Presentation Title: What can poo do for you?

Christopher Lanterman (3rd Place 2016)

  • Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction, Department of Teaching and Learning, Northern Arizona University
  • Advisor: Karen Applequist, Ph.D.
  • Presentation Title: Seeing Disability Differently…by Design

 Antonio Herrería Fernández

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Spanish Literature, School of International Letters and Culture, Arizona State University
  • Advisor: Carlos García Fernández, Ph.D.
  • Presentation Title: Tourism and Literature: the Coastal Touristic Space in the Spanish Contemporary Novel


Graduate Education and Research in Arizona

Graduate education plays a major role in moving innovation, policy, and progress forward in Arizona and the world. The State of Arizona is home to three premier public institutions of higher education as well as other private and nonprofit colleges.

For more information about graduate education at Arizona's public universities please visit their websites listed below.